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May 11, 2020updated 18 Jan 2022 5:35pm

Impact of Covid-19 on African mine production

The spread of Covid-19 across Africa has caused a large-scale impact on mining operations. To curtail the spread of the virus, many countries announced national lockdown measures, ranging from a complete shutdown to various restrictions on the movement of people and businesses.

By GlobalData

The spread of Covid-19 across Africa has caused a large-scale impact on mining operations. To curtail the spread of the virus, many countries announced national lockdown measures, ranging from a complete shutdown to various restrictions on the movement of people and businesses.

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The most significant as far as mining was concerned was in South Africa. The country, which accounts for more than 70% of global platinum production, imposed a 21-day complete nationwide lockdown, including the suspension of all mining operations from 26 March. Others, including Angola, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ghana, Lesotho, Liberia, Namibia and Zimbabwe, imposed lockdowns with varying ranges of restrictions. These lockdown measures are expected to impact global production of platinum and diamonds most severely.

The spread of COVID-19 has particularly affected diamond mining. In Angola, major diamond miner, Sociedade Mineira de Catoca, which accounts for 75% of the country production, suspended operations in all its new concessions and laid off a part of the workforce. Lucapa Diamond Company halted operations from 1 April to 24 April, and has since partially resumed operations with 50% of the workforce following a decree from the government. In Botswana, production by the largest diamond producer, De Beers, declined by 7% to 5.6 million carats in Q1 2020 due to issues related to new plant commissioning and maintenance at Orapa mine and lower grades at Jwaneng mine in the Debswana region. With the spread of COVID-19, De Beers has kept the Debswana region mining operations on care and maintenance from 2 April as the country implemented lockdown. Mining operations are expected to restart slowly in a phased manner from 8 May to 20 May. Collectively, production in these major diamond producing countries is forecast decline by 2.6 million carats in 2020.

South Africa’s platinum production experienced a twin blow in 2020. Anglo American Platinum reported an explosion at its Anglo Converter Plant at the Waterval smelter in Rustenberg in February, which meant its guidance for 2020 was reduced by around half a million ounces. The 21-day complete lockdown is expected to reduce production by a further 0.757 million ounces.

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Navigate your business through the ‘new normal’

COVID-19 continues to dominate headlines the world over. It has already affected our lives forever. The way we work, shop, eat, seek medical advice, and socialize will all be different in the future. Quite how different remains to be seen, but all industries must plan for multiple eventualities.  Faced with an explosion of conflicting information on how to plan and implement successful recovery strategies, decision-makers are in dire need of a single, reliable source of intelligence.   GlobalData’s COVID-19 Executive Briefing gives you access to unparalleled data and insights to successfully navigate the uncertain road to recovery across the world’s largest industries. Understand every aspect of this disruptive theme by delving into: 
  •  COVID-19 infection update, with statistics on the spread, testing by country, as well as the latest data on vaccines and therapeutic developments 
  • Economic impact overview, covering stock market indices, GDP, unemployment rates, policy responses & GlobalData’s economic recovery scorecards 
  • Sector developments, with access to sector insight summaries, cross-sector indices and the leaders and laggards in each industry vertical 
Whatever your company’s imminent strategic plans, the long-lasting impact of COVID-19 must not be overlooked. Find out how to futureproof your business operations – download our report today. 
by GlobalData
Enter your details here to receive your free Report.

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